Full of high expectations I walked into a local Christian bookstore with my first book, The People of God: 26 Keys that Unlock Prophecy. I was met by the wife of the pastor/owner. The woman took the book and immediately handed it back. “What is your position on the end times?” she asked.
By her tone, I knew my answer would not be acceptable. I said the book was a thoroughly referenced, fresh look at what God says is going to happen.
(It quickly became apparent I did not say the magic word.) She walked away busying herself with rearranging the merchandise. Her explanation: “My husband has taught Revelation for years, and I have too. We’re not interested in your book.”
A proverbial bucket of cold water was dumped on my enthusiasm. I had to process what had happened. What did I do wrong? I was flabbergasted that a Christian bookstore would emphatically reject a book on the Bible with a “We don’t want any!”
That day I received a hard dose of reality. It was a sample of the state of Christian religion in America. Whatever happened to bring your Bible and “Come let us reason together.” I was dismissed not because of my Bible translation–it did not get that far–but with the suspicion my doctrine varied with theirs. It was not that I had a book full of errors. How could she know by glancing at the cover? No room on their store’s shelf was an ounce of prevention since my book might cause an uproar. We couldn’t risk that!
“No thanks. I don’t want any” has made its way from the church into our culture. We know it as political correctness. Consider our educational institutions and their restrictions on views or concepts with which faculty or students disagree–especially religious ideas. Those ideas are dead on arrival.
The gap has widened. In politics, supporting or opposing legislation depends on who sponsors it. As far as bi-partisanship, it is “No thanks. We don’t want any!”
Jesus said, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20 NIV)
It may be a surprise, but on the religious level, fortresses have been built to keep certain opinions out. So what happens when Jesus knocks? He is met at the door by the pastor/owner or one of their loyal guards. If it seems the Lord might have a disagreement with the pastor’s teaching, the smile of greeting disappears as does the welcome.
“No thanks. We don’t want any–truth that is.” No hospitality. No food, even if Jesus was hungry. No drink though his journey was long and the Lord thirsts. No place at the table of fellowship because of what He might say. Just the exit. As we did to the least of the Lord’s brothers, we have also done to him (cf. Matthew 25:45).
To his disciples Christ said, “Anyone who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me.” (Matthew 10:42)
As to the bookstore, a short time later another business took over. An opportunity to fellowship was lost.
Judging a book by its cover is something we all do. For a breakthrough to occur, the Lord reveals himself in unique ways and through unlikely sources. But are we listening?
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. (Isaiah 55:8)